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An updated New Orleans Saints 53-man roster projection

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We’re halfway through the preseason, and there’s a lot to consider for the final New Orleans Saints roster.

NFL: Preseason-New Orleans Saints at Houston Texans Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been just over two weeks (my ‘early’ pre-preseason prediction) since my last New Orleans Saints roster prediction. After the team’s first two contests and training camp battles, who are the front runners for the final 53-man roster? We can likely agree on at least 60 percent (32 players) of the team’s 2016 squad, but what about those other spots?

Here’s my latest thoughts as we get closer to the regular season.

Offense (25)

Quarterback (3)

  • Drew Brees
  • Luke McCown
  • Garrett Grayson

Thoughts: I haven’t seen enough from Garrett Grayson to say that he’s going to be the definite backup to Drew Brees. It’s extremely frustrating knowing that the Saints have to use a spot here that could be better suited elsewhere.

Running Back (5)

  • Mark Ingram
  • Tim Hightower
  • C.J. Spiller
  • Daniel Lasco
  • John Kuhn

Thoughts: You’re not going to convince me that Marcus Murphy has a place on this roster, and Travaris Cadet has been taking a back seat to Daniel Lasco. Cadet is on the fence, without question.

Wide Receiver (5)

  • Brandin Cooks
  • Willie Snead
  • Michael Thomas
  • Brandon Coleman
  • Tommylee Lewis

Thoughts: Yes, Brandon Coleman has been extremely disappointing. I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet, because who would realistically take over his spot? More info is needed, but I firmly believe Tommylee Lewis has a place on this team as a receiver and returner.

Tight End (3)

  • Coby Fleener
  • Michael Hoomanawanui
  • Josh Hill

Thoughts: Not much surprise here, and barring injury this is arguably the easiest position group to project.

Offensive Line (9)

  • Max Unger (C)
  • Terron Armstead (LT)
  • Zach Strief (RT)
  • Tim Lelito (G)
  • Andrus Peat (G)
  • Jack Allen (C/G)
  • Senio Kelemete (G)
  • Landon Turner (G)
  • Tony Hills (T)

Thoughts: Let’s go with what we do know, as the main six linemen all have a spot. I do believe Landon Turner is starting to find his groove. Aside some mistakes from Jack Allen, I think he’s adjusting. Veteran Tony Hills would be the third tackle kept, and the Saints could use a few more options at offensive line right now.

Defense (25)

Defensive End (5)

  • Cameron Jordan
  • Kasim Edebali
  • Bobby Richardson
  • Obum Gwacham
  • Davis Tull

Thoughts: I liked the fact that Davis Tull has showed us a bit more, but I’m not convinced that he has the spot on lock down. Both C.J. Wilson and Darryl Tapp could threaten Tull for a roster slot on the defensive line over the next two weeks.

Defensive Tackle (4)

  • Sheldon Rankins
  • Nick Fairley
  • Tyeler Davison
  • David Onyemata

Thoughts: I’ve alluded to the Saints parting ways with John Jenkins before it’s all said and done, and the play from David Onyemata makes me believe that it’s becoming more of a reality. Onyemata, like Richardson, can be used along the line.

Linebacker (5)

  • Dannell Ellerbe
  • James Laurinaitis
  • Stephone Anthony
  • Nathan Stupar
  • Craig Robertson

Thoughts: The health of this unit is key, and going off what we know now is why I left off Michael Mauti. That could certainly change if Stephone Anthony can’t return to action, but I feel good about the team’s linebacking corps as it is.

Cornerback (6)

  • Delvin Breaux
  • P.J. Williams
  • Damian Swann
  • De’Vante Harris
  • Ken Crawley
  • Brian Dixon

Thoughts: Keenan Lewis out of the picture gave a roster slot to De’Vante Harris or Ken Crawley, and I think both should end up making the final roster. I don’t count out Cortland Finnegan, but you can’t help but be encouraged by what the rookies are doing. As for Dixon, he’s the gunner in this equation.

Safety (5)

  • Kenny Vaccaro
  • Roman Harper
  • Jairus Byrd
  • Vonn Bell
  • Erik Harris

Thoughts: Again, no real surprises from this group. I don’t think there’s any indication of this group looking different.

Special Teams (3)

  • Kicker: Connor Barth
  • Punter: Thomas Morstead
  • Long Snapper: Justin Drescher

Thoughts: Tommylee Lewis is my return specialist in this equation, with C.J. Spiller serving as a backup. I don’t trust Kai Forbath as the long-term kicker for 2016, and I feel Barth’s experience puts him on the final roster.